Friday, 11 December 2009

Pump Price Dislocation

I've been watching the oil price with some interest over the past few weeks, not least because there has been some speculation that it is entering a very bearish period - for traders, that is, not for consumers - due to oversupply (Iraq is coming back into the equation, for instance, combined with the fact that many companies 'parked' huge quantities of crude offshore in tankers to keep the price artificially high during 2009 and that has added to the glut now, especially in the US where demand is still relatively weak). The NYMEX price fell for the eighth consecutive day today to hit $69.63 - and the trend is still downward, not least because of a stronger dollar.

Now, I fully appreciate that the pound's relatively weaker value on the foreign exchanges and other factors, like the delay between the commodity's price fluctuations and price movements at the pump is normally around three weeks, but this does not explain why I am still being forced to fork out anything between 108 and 114 pence per litre today, given the significant recent falls in the price of the black gold. Those are $110 a barrel levels. By my back-of-an-envelope reckoning, even taking into account pricing delays and currency devaluations, I should not be paying much more than 98p per litre, perhaps even less. So what the hell is going on?

There seems to be a serious dislocation here - and we are being hammered because of it. Why? No idea, but it's inevitably not going to be a good reason in ripoff Britain, although I'm sure Treasury ministers and their oil company chums will have some patronising, soundbite excuse. So I expect any falls, which are long overdue anyway but might not be coming at all, to be swallowed up by the return to the very expensively, temporarily suspended 17.5% VAT rate. If the falls don't come in the next couple of weeks, why then, in January (unless oil prices fall substantially further, which is unlikely), we in Britain will have to cope with further forecourt price rises. Unbelievable!

I'm sure it'll make the watermelons happy but, Brown and Darling, this is no way to start an economic recovery. Idiots.

I wish we didn't sometimes act in this country like so many sheeple - me included.


  1. Don't forget that when VAT went down last year, the Chancellor deliberately adjusted fuel duty upwards such that the pump price stayed the same... but don't expect that adjustment to disappear when VAT goes back up... That would be too much like honourable behaviour, so effectively we get hit with TWO fuel tax increases in the year instead of one.

  2. Tony, what the hell are we going to do about this? It's daylight robbery - of everyone!

  3. Well, I for one am planning on getting a large Range Rover and killing two birds with one stone...

    1. Solve the national defecit ON MY OWN!

    2. Cheese off the 'Watermelons'.

    Yes, it'll cost me but I'll have fun doing in a Clarksonesque sort of way.

  4. when vat was reduced on petrol duty was increased to take into account the vat reduction so it had no effect on petrol and it will be a rip-off if there is an increase in fuel whan vat is restored another new Labour sleight of hand

  5. ahan.... thanks for the information...

  6. sorry to repeat the first commentI didn't see it

  7. Just a wee follow-up to this one, folks, I heard yesterday on the radio (so it must be true) that the big three supermarches are about to embark on a petrol price war. Prices are expected imminently to fall back to, wait for it, 103ppl.

    Not good enough. But obviously I was sorta right and the slack is there. But they're not taking it up, price 'war' or no. We are, as usual.

    Did anyone mention "ripoff"?


Any thoughts?